Kilimanjaro Initiative celebrates one year

Monday, 27th November 2017

After a year of pushing for rural women’s land rights and influencing the African Union to endorse the Charter on inclusive rights for women, the Kilimanjaro Initiative reconnects as a movement and agrees to have a comprehensive framework for monitoring the implementation of the Kilimanjaro Rural Women’s demands across African countries.

After climbing 5,895 metres above sea level in 2016, the Women of the Kilimanjaro Initiative assembled again on 11-13 November 2017.  66 Rural women from 18 countries came together in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to use the opportunity at the Land Policy Conference to examine progress made in realising the rural women’s Charter of Demands and build energy and keep the momentum of the Kilimanjaro Initiative on the quest for secure land rights for women alive.

Based on the remarks of the delegates, it was clear that the teams from each country worked hard to popularise the Charter through awareness raising programs, media activities and visits to key decision makers at local, country and regional level.


 “As we had the Kilimanjaro Initiative the rural women’s meeting last year in Arusha, women were able to present the Charter of Demands to the chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), who then presented it during the January AU summit, which was endorsed by the AU Heads of States,” prides Ms Leah Mugehera, Kilimanjaro Initiative Support Consortium member. Ms Mugehera works for Oxfam International as a Women Land Rights Programme Officer in Africa.

A major milestone according to Ms Mugehera is that the momentum is building across countries and interest has even extended to North Africa, where countries such as Tunisia and Morocco are joining the initiative.

Ms Lois Aduamoah Addo, women’s rights activist from WiLDAF Ghana says that a major success since the start of the Initiative is its ability to mobilise resources to follow up implementation and advocate. To this effect, two tools presented during the meeting; an advocacy document and a progress-monitoring tool, will support the work already started on the ground.

Closing the gaps

Globally women own less than 20% of the world’s land. In Africa, across 10 documented countries, only an average 12% of women own land individually, compared to 31 percent of men who own land individually. Moreover, women continue to face challenges to access land including gender-based violence in the continent. Nevertheless, solid land rights could catapult women to economic success, stronger bargaining authority and financial independence, which could potentially de-risk women from gender based violence. The Kilimanjaro Initiative believes that inclusive decision-making and women empowerment could reduce such gaps. “In the next one to five years, we are looking at pushing for greater space for women to engage in land decision making processes,” says Ms Catherine Gatundu, a Kilimanjaro Initiative Support Consortium member and Policy Advisor at Action Aid International.

Finding linkages with other global, regional and in-country processes

One key process driving women's rights and change in the world is UN Sustainable Development Goals. It sufficiently look at the issue of land rights and aim for equal rights to ownership and control over land by 2030. Land rights indicators for this goal  include:

Goal 1 “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”.

  • Indicator 1.4.2 : Proportion of total adult population with secure tenure rights to land, with legally recognised documentation and who perceive their rights to land as secure, by sex and by type of tenure (disaggregated by sex and type of tenure).

Goal 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.

  • Indicator 5.a.1 (a) Proportion of total agricultural population with ownership or secure rights over agricultural land, by sex; and (b) share of women among owners or rights-bearers of agricultural land, by type of tenure.
  • Indicator 5.a.2 Proportion of countries where the legal framework (including customary law) guarantees women’s equal rights to land ownership and/or control.

To ensure proper linkages and implementation of these processes, Ms Kafui Kuwonu, Kilimanjaro Initiative Support Consortium member and programme officer of Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF-AO ) – also a member of the ILC- is connecting with various national delegations to explain the good will of the global and continental processes. For example, at ILC Africa High Level multi-stakeholder platforms forum on November 13, 2017 (in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) the Initiative liaised with national delegations and other actors looking for opportunities to working together at country levels.

Find out more

Watch this video from the celebration